Thursday, November 28, 2013



E.M. Forster (1879-1970), "Roger Fry: An Obituary Note," Abinger Harvest (1936; rpt. London: Edward Arnold & Co., 1946), pp. 39-41 (at 40):
He rejected authority absolutely. It is fairly easy for a recluse to reject it or at all events to elude it, but he was not a recluse, he was always in the world and keenly interested in its details, and it is difficult for such a man to avoid being overawed by the imposing figures who surround him and try to set the pace. He is tempted to listen not to what they say but to their names. But a name meant nothing whatever to Fry. He had, in this respect, the unworldliness of his Quaker forebears, and he could always shake an opinion out of its husk, and hold it up to the light of reason, where it often shrivelled to nothing at all. If you said to him, 'This must be right, all the experts say so, all the Trustees of the National Gallery say so, all the art-dealers say so, Hitler says so, Marx says so, Christ says so, The Times says so,' he would reply in effect, 'Well. I wonder. Let's see.' He would see and he would make you see. You would come away realizing that an opinion may be influentially backed and yet be tripe.

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